Bad Weather Hampers Search For S/Korea Ferry Survivors

SKorea FerryBad weather, murky water and strong currents have been hampering the search for survivors of the South Korean ferry disaster as loved ones and anxious relatives offer prayers for the safe return of their loved ones.

Emergency services are still searching for nearly 300 people missing after a ship carrying more than 470 people sank.

Officials say 179 people have been rescued. Most of the passengers were pupils at the same high school.

The captain of the sunken South Korean ferry apologized to families of the victims and those missing on Thursday (April 17) as the coast guard investigates him. The ferry sank off South Korea’s southwest coast on Wednesday, leaving at least nine dead and about 290 missing

Witnesses told Korean media that the captain of the vessel, who is now being held by police, was one of the first to leave the stricken vessel.

The vessel, carrying 475 passengers and crew, capsized during a journey from the northwestern port of Incheon to the southern holiday island of Jeju. It went down about 20 km off the country’s southwestern coast.

Meanwhile, South Korean President, Park Geun-Hye, visited the site of the accident as coast guards continue search operations for about 290 missing people.

In the video, Park observed search operations on a boat and was briefed by a coast guard officer.

Rescuers fought rising winds and waves as they searched for hundreds of people, mostly teenage schoolchildren, still missing.

Frustrated parents of some of the missing school children are, however, hiring their own boats and divers to find survivors. Others jeer at coastguard officials asking why they’re not out searching for the missing passengers.

So far 179 people have been rescued and nine confirmed dead in what could be the country’s worst maritime accident in 20 years.

It is not known why the 6,586 ton vessel, built in Japan 20 years ago, sank.

Rwanda Genocide: From Losses To Gains, Twenty Years After

RwandaFrom April 7, to about July 15, 20 years ago, between 500,000 to one million people were killed in Rwanda. 

That period of time, was known as the genocide mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu, planned by members of the core political elite, known as the Akazu, many of whom were already in top government positions.

According to sources, the war took place in the context of the Rwandan civil war, which was an ongoing conflict that had begun in 1990, between the Hutu-led government and the Rwandan Patriotic Front, composed mainly of Tutsi refugees, whose families had fled to Uganda after their earlier encounter with Hutu violence against the Tutsi.

For many Rwandans, the experience of the genocide brought a lot of suspicion, fear and tension, in the years that followed after the genocide. 

Today, many have only one phrase on their lips; that is, ‘Rwanda genocide, never again!’

The younger generation is doing what it can to cope with the country’s horrific past, as many lost parents and loved ones in the killing.

To help them move on, orphans from the period, have been coming together to form groups, that support one another while others are using social media such as facebook, to preach peace and reconciliation.

A Lot Has Changed

Believe it or not, a lot has changed in Rwanda, since then. Rwanda-farms

The country is said to have low corruption, compared with neighbouring African countries. It also has the highest proportion of females in government positions, in proportion to the population.

Although seriously affected by the genocide, its economy has grown since then. A country of few natural resources, the economy is based mostly on subsistence agriculture by local farmers, using simple tools.

However, tourism is a fast-growing sector in Rwanda, and is now the country’s leading foreign exchange earner.

Rwanda’s high commissioner to Nigeria, told Channels Television that Rwandans had moved on and are looking ahead to make the country work.

“There are many initiatives to make the people come together. People have gone beyond ethnic divisions. Things have changed,” he said.

Just like many at the time, he also had his losses.

Team Nigeria Ready for ITTF African Junior Championship in Egypt

tennis teamNigeria will on Monday begin its quest for glory in the team event of the 2014 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) tagged African Junior Championship taking place in Cairo, Egypt.

The eight-man team led by national coach, Nosiru Bello and assisted by Dotun Omoniyi will compete against seeded teams such as Tunisia, Algeria and the host nation.

In the team event draw that took place in Cairo, Nigeria’s male team has been pitched against Egypt, Congo Brazzaville, Djibouti and Congo DRC in Group One while Tunisia, Algeria, Angola Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa are in Group Two.

In the female draw, Nigeria will tackle Egypt, South Africa, Angola in Group One while Algeria, Tunisia, Congo Brazzaville and Congo DRC were drawn in group two.

In the cadet team event draw, Nigeria’s male team will battle Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria in Group One while group Two consists of Congo Brazzaville, Angola, South Africa and Djibouti.

For the girls’ draw, Nigeria will tackle Tunisia, Angola and Congo DRC in Group Two while Egypt has to confront Congo Brazzaville South Africa and Angola in Group one.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinal stage of the championship.

The Nigeria male team is made up of Olasunkanmi Oginni, Babafemi Babatunde, Joseph Osedunkwu and Sunday Akomolafe, while the female team has Tosin Esther Oribamise, Agnes Onoja, Ajoke Ojomu and Halimot Ayinla.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s quartet of Aly Ghallab, Mahmoud Fathy, Ahmed Mabrouk and Ahmed Dabous are the top seeded players in the Championships. Ahmed Dabous currently stands in second place behind Algeria’s Yaniss Douifi, with Tunisia’s Kerem Ben Yahia in third spot.

Mahmoud Fathy is in fourth position; Congo Brazzaville’s Gracce Babekidio occupies fifth spot with Aly Ghallab in the sixth.

The ranking produced by the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) is a combination of the current ITTF World Rankings combined with the results gained at the immediate previous African Junior Championships.

Tunisia represented by Kerem Ben Yahia, Nadim Ben Mekki, Chouab Lagha and Salim Hassine occupy the second seeded position in the Junior Boys’ Team event with Algeria and Congo Brazzaville being the third
and fourth seeds.

Algeria is represented Yaniss Douifi, Salim Amokrane, Arslane Beldjelali and Abderrahmane Alioua; whilst for Congo Brazzaville the squad is formed by Christ Bientaki, Michel Lignan

Tunisia Lifts State Of Emergency, Three Years After Revolt

tunsiaTunisia has lifted a State of Emergency three years after it was imposed, in a largely symbolic move to show security is improving in the North African state.

Since the 2011 uprising that ousted autocrat, Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisian security forces have been battling militants from the hard-line Islamist movement Ansar al-Sharia, one of the radical groups to emerge after Ben Ali’s fall.

“The President of the Republic issued a decree to lift the State of Emergency beginning on March 5, 2014,” a statement from the Presidency said on Thursday.

The State of Emergency had kept security forces on alert across the country and given troops and Police authority to intervene in protests. Troops have arrested dozens of militants and killed others during raids over the past few months.

It has also affected tourism, which is a major part of Tunisia’s economy. Almost 7 million tourists came to the country in 2010, a few months before the uprising. Last year, that was down to about 6 million in 2012.

Attracting more tourists will help Tunisia to stabilize its economy. Then it can carry out reforms demanded by international lenders, who want to see the state reduce its budget deficit and trim public spending.

Prime Minister, Mehdi Jomaa said on Monday that “terrorism” had left, without giving details. Ansar al Sharia has been blamed for clashes with security forces and for a suicide bombing at a beach resort at the end of last year – the first such attack in Tunisia in more than a decade.

UCL: Mourinho And Mancini React To 1-1 Draw

Chelsea Manager, Jose Mourinho was left to bemoan missed chances after a 1 all draw at Galatasaray and urged Chelsea’s fans to generate their own red-hot atmosphere in the return leg.

Fernando Torres scored after just nine minutes and Galatasaray drew level when defender Aurelien Chedjou took advantage of slack Chelsea defending at a corner.

Both managers are however wary of a tough game in the return leg.

Tunisia Signs New Constitution

Tunisia adopted a new constitution on Monday, January 27, a big stride towards democracy in the country that began the Arab Spring revolutions and has largely avoided the chaos and violence now plaguing the neighbours it inspired.

After years under autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia’s charter has been praised as one of the most progressive in the Arab world, designating Islam as the state religion but protecting freedom of belief and sexual equality.

Parliament erupted in celebrations after the official signing of the constitution. Lawmakers approved it on Sunday evening, ending months of deadlock that had threatened to undo Tunisia’s transition.

“This is an exceptional day for Tunisia, where we celebrate the victory over dictatorship. The government and the opposition have won, Tunisia has won,” President Moncef Marzouki told the assembly after signing.

On the streets of the capital Tunis, reaction to the new constitution was mixed, but mostly positive.

“I am very happy. I feel relaxed and delighted for my country and my people and all Tunisians“, said one man.

“(The constitution) represents me; however the country is not going in the right direction. No matter if they change the constitution or not. It does not mean anything,” added a woman.

One man said politicians had been able to prevent the type of turmoil that plagued other countries in the region.

“The National Constituent Assembly was a fertile seed, it prevented us from many other bad possibilities, that could have happened, like what’s happening in Egypt, in Libya, Syria and Yemen,” he said.

The small North African country’s steady progress contrasts sharply with turmoil in Libya and Egypt, whose people followed Tunisia in ousting their veteran leaders in 2011.

Tunisia’s stock market rose 1.7 percent on Monday in a sign of investor confidence in the country’s stability, with the constitution in place and the formation of a new caretaker cabinet that will govern until elections.

After months of crisis, Tunisia’s transition got back on track when ruling Islamist party, Ennahda agreed to compromise late last year and step down to make way for a non-political cabinet of experts, led by former minister, Mehdi Jomaa.

Hours before Sunday’s January 26 approval of the constitution, new Prime Minister, Jomaa named technocrats with international experience to key posts such as Finance Minister and Foreign Minister.

No election date has been set, but Ennahda and opposition party Nidaa Tounes, headed by a former Ben Ali official, are expected to battle for the presidency.

In the National Assembly and on the street, political divisions about the role of Islam were forgotten in the celebrations over a constitution that United Nations Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon commended as a “milestone”.

Nigeria Slip Four Places In FIFA Ranking

Nigeria’s senior national team, the Super Eagles dropped four places in the January edition of the FIFA world ranking.

The Super Eagles kick started the year in the 41st spot, dropping to the 7th place in the continent.

Cote d ‘Ivoire and Ghana retained their spot in the 17th and 24th position to keep the 1st and 2nd spot in Africa.

Algeria slipped one place to the 27th spot in Africa while the Pharaohs of Egypt moved 10 places to the 31st spot and occupies the 4th spot in Africa.

Cape Verde Islands moved four places to the 35th spot; the Eagles of Mali also moved five places to 40th spot.

Tunisia, Cameroon and South Africa complete the country’s top ten.

Spain have maintained their 1st position globally, with Germany in second place, followed by Argentina, Colombia and Portugal. Brazil, who will be hosting the FIFA World Cup in June, are in the 10th position.

Since the last rankings, Nigeria has beaten Ethiopia 2-1 and lost to Mali 2-1 in their opening match at the African Nations Championship. Both matches were executed by the home based Eagles